Buying an investment property in The Hills or elsewhere in Sydney gives you an excellent opportunity to set yourself up financially for the future. One of the key factors in managing your rental home is finding tenants and keeping your property occupied to maximise your return on investment.
If you’re new to property investing or to the Hills District area, engaging a local real estate agent who knows the nuances of the real estate market locally, will ensure you have the best resources to hand for ensuring your rental property remains leased.
The best time to re-rent a property
Although people need a home throughout the year, there are peak times and seasonal trends when rental demand is high. Whether you’re renewing the rental lease or looking for new tenants, there are certain times throughout the year that are easier to find new tenants or ask for a higher weekly rent.
There are two main periods that are busier for a real estate agency than others: January/February and June/July.
The start of the year is the busiest period. With Christmas out the way and the school terms drawing near, this is a popular time for renters to make their move. You’ll often find families that are relocating needing to be settled by the end of January before the new school or university terms start.
Six months later is another busy period. Again, it’s the start of a university semester and with some properties only offering short-term leases (often six months), there’s an influx of renters looking for a new home.
The months in between these periods tend to be quieter and for this reason landlords or property management agencies may have to lower their asking price to attract tenants quickly. For savvy property investors you’ll appreciate that any drop in rental income over a 12-month lease (or longer) can have a profound effect on your investment return.
How to keep contracts renewing in the right season.
In an ideal scenario, you’ll keep a tenant for many years, or at least renew the tenancy in the busy period. When it does come time to arrange a new rental contract ensure it includes a 12-month lease period so that the expiry date always falls in a more favourable and high-demand time of year.
Be mindful that most rental contracts move onto a rolling contract after the first 12-month period ends, enabling a tenant to give notice and move out at any point. This can leave you in the lurch, looking for new tenants when there’s less demand.
The smart approach is to engage a property manager that makes it part of their business to renew contracts at the end of each term, that way you’re in more control and can better manage the time of year the lease expires.
Shifting lease renewal dates to the busy season
If you find yourself with a tenant whose contract renews in the off-season, one tactic to shift your tenant back into the right season is to offer them more favourable for an 18 month term, such as delaying a rental increase.
Changing the rent requires a notice of at least 60 days and can be accompanied by a fixed term contract. This means you can still improve your income over the long term but in the interim you get our lease back on the right cycle.
How to ensure your property is rented quickly
One of the biggest worries for a property owner is that their house or unit will sit empty, accruing bills while a new tenant is being found. There are several steps you can take to ensure you do not end up in this situation and that you maintain no, or a very short, vacancy rate.
Maintain your property
Renters like to know that they’re moving in somewhere that’s looked after well. If you haven’t already, make sure that all repairs are seen to, that gardens are well maintained and that you repaint the exterior and interior where necessary, long before your tenancy agreement reaches its end.
Although pets can cause wear and tear to a property, many Australian families have a four-legged friend they want to live with them. By allowing pets, you can open your property up to a wider pool of renters. To cover the risk, a higher bond is often a wise choice.
Setting rent fairly
While you may be tempted to charge as much as possible, this doesn’t always get you the best tenant. It’s much better to charge a little less and get someone with a great rental history, who pays regularly and wants to stay in the property over a longer period of time. You want to avoid needing to keep advertising your property year on year.
Work with a professional
Hiring a property management expert can pay huge dividends. For a small fee, they’ll find new tenants, renew contracts, manage tenant relations, as well as give suggestions for required maintenance or improvements and ensure your property remains compliant with current laws.
Remember, if you have an investment property in The Hills District that you want help with, our property management team are only a Stone’s throw away!
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